Just like my kids, there are words I don’t process well in response to prayer.
Some of my kids have a hearing problem. They ask the same question repeatedly, without noticing the answers. There are specific words their ears apparently don’t always process, including no, go, later, stop and maybe.
When this happens I tend to repeat myself louder, doing more of what’s not working at a higher volume. When the kids still don’t heed me and end up in trouble, they protest it’s unfair because they didn’t hear me. I tell them, “The consequences are the same, whether you listened or not.”
One day after some major aggravation I asked God to show me how to handle this situation better. He said, “You have a selective-hearing problem.” Meaning me, not my kids. I knew immediately what he meant, because unfortunately there are specific words I don’t process well in response to prayer: no, go, later, stop and maybe.
God’s not likely to shout when I don’t pay attention. He might repeat his message quietly, or tell me in different words, or touch me through the actions of others. The consequences are the same, whether I listen or not. It’s up to me to “love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:20).
So I’m working on it. And the funny thing is, as I’m learning to listen better it’s improving my relationship with God—and with my kids.